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Six-hospital, regional effort seeks its first director

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A six-hospital effort that has been finding ways to work together to reduce unnecessary, repeat Medicaid readmissions and create efficiencies in health care delivery may have its first executive director by April 1.

Operating in partnership with the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization, the North Country Initiative director will oversee the program’s administration and help develop a management services organization and a clinically integrated network.

“As it moves forward, it’ll need staffing in order to meet goals of the organization,” said Denise K. Young, FDRHPO executive director.

River Hospital, Alexandria Bay; Samaritan Medical Center; Carthage Area Hospital; Lewis County General Hospital, Lowville; Clifton-Fine Hospital, Star Lake, and Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center, Ogdensburg, have worked in collaboration throughout the past two years to initiate a plan that could curb costs and create healthier communities.

Through those efforts, hospital administrators determined a management service organization would provide centralized nonphysician services and functions to all participating hospitals. What may be included could be joint purchasing, reference laboratories and synchronized revenue cycles, such as billing, coding, collection and admissions. A clinically integrated system would involve outcome-based measurements and physicians working collaboratively.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Young said, applications for the North Country Initiative’s top post already have come in.

“I think we have a good pool that we’ll get to begin interviewing next week,” she said.

According to a position description, which was posted on FDRHPO’s Facebook page, the director will be responsible for helping to develop the initiative’s business plan and budget and overseeing daily operations.

Up until this point, River Hospital Chief Executive Officer Ben Moore III has served as the group’s spokesman. The position description states that the initiative director will coordinate development and will be responsible for all communication materials. The director will work closely with hospital administrators, community members, community groups and various health organizations.

Once initial steps are complete, the director also will determine the North Country Initiative’s total staffing requirements.

FDRHPO is looking for someone with a master’s degree in health care administration or a related field, and at least five years’ experience in leading or working with independent employed physicians or other professionals. Resumes are due Saturday. For more information, email Mrs. Young at dyoung@fdrhpo.org.

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